Who Gets To Make Decisions In Your IT Shop?

by drjim on February 23, 2009

Where IT Decisions Get Made And Who Makes Them Is Very Important

Where IT Decisions Get Made And Who Makes Them Is Very Important

A recent study of 89 senior IT executives in a wide range of industries was done in order to get the answer to a seemingly simple question: who’s in charge here?

In these days of reigned in IT spending, decisions about how much to spend and what to spend it on seem to have migrated even farther up the command ladder. It turns out that this is causing an IT credibility gap: others are making decisions that we then have to deliver on. Is this any way to run a company?

I’m hoping that we can all agree that having IT work hand-in-hand with the rest of the company has never been more important. This means that getting decision rights and accountability right is now critical to an IT department’s success.

If you boil it down, IT departments are responsible for not only hardware and software assets, but also for all customer and supplier data along with many automated business  processes. This means that if IT decision making is not properly placed, the impacts will be felt company wide.

There are two ways to get decision making wrong. The first is called a techocentric gap and this is when IT is in charge of all decisions. We’ve all see what this can do. The other is called a business gap – this is when all decision making is done outside of the IT department. Neither of these solutions is the right way to go.

In the end, there are really three types of IT decisions that need to be made. Technical decisions around IT infrastructure and architecture probably need to reside primarily within IT. IT investment and strategic decisions need to be made jointly by IT management and business top management. Finally, once again IT top management and business top management need to work together to make outsourcing decisions.

Where do IT decisions get made in your IT department? Is there a gap between IT and the business? Does IT get held responsible for decisions that they played no role in making? Leave me a comment and let me know what you are thinking.

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